Friday, June 27, 2008

a solitary place

Today I am having a day off work for no reason.

In one week, I move to Canterbury for a month of Lambeth Conference shinnanigans .... so I took the last chance for a pyjamas-until-11am, home-bound-except-to-pop-out-for-something -indulgent-from-Tescos kind of day.

A chance not just to slob but to ponder on 'Intuitive leadership: embracing a paradigm of narrative, metaphor & choas' by Tim Keel.

Books often cohere thoughts I've been having. In fact, I sometimes rely on them for that. Keel challenged me to set the books aside more often, just try to 'be' with God (now why should that sound so cheesy?) and trust the incoherence.

He discusses churches' need to control the world with market research, Willow-Creek-modelled services and meetings. He advocates a bit of chaos and uncertainty. He asks churches to be more silent, in worship and in posture, to listen to voices from their margins, voices that might be emotional, incoherent, naive, lacking in confidence, abrasive.

He advocates more stillness. Do you need to be still? I do. My noisy world moulds me into an achiever and consumer. A purpose-driven pain in the arse. Even in prayer, I want to reach God in order to be a better person, in order to know him more fully, in order to energise myself for action, in order to change the world.....enough orders. What about enjoying God? What about him enjoying me?

One of the reasons church leadership is wrong for me at this time is because it would be something I have sought before I have sought God. Something I have idolised. Even if that's not the intention, or even the case at the start, somewhere along the line that's what would happen. 'Leading' in any formal, institutional way is a too-easy route to that mythical place where I can hear God better and where others are more likely to listen to me.

I need to stop aiming for the future and learn to hear God where I am, with one foot at least in the margins. I need to stop worrying about whether or not others can hear me. That doesn't really matter. God's word is already amongst us, having arrived as a middle-eastern baby in a cowshed. Somehow, I think I need to give up worrying my pretty little head about how he'll communicate the things we all need to hear.....and just listen.


Andy said...

Great post Anna - got me thinking lots. Should check out that book, methinks.


Unknown said...

Hello Anna

I checked out your blog and thought this post was great. Hope you are well and I look forward to seeing you at my wedding (3.5weeks!)

Your bruv James